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Chris Lowe, once called "the most famous head in the world", is to retire from Prince William School, Oundle, next summer after 28 years in charge. He is the longest-serving secondary school headteacher in Northamptonshire.

Mr Lowe was president of the Secondary Heads Association in 1990-91 and of the European Secondary Heads Association from 1992-96. He was awarded the CBE in 1992.

During his headship, the school gained an international reputation for performing operas, which were invited to tour Europe and the United States. Mr Lowe became chairman of the Opera Education Committee of the Royal Opera House and in 1993 was asked to join the main board.

Prince William School (named in 1973 in memory of Prince William of Gloucester, who had been killed in a plane crash) gained specialist language college status in 1996.

Chris Lowe, who has written education law books and many articles in magazines and newspapers, including The TES, will continue writing in his retirement. He also expects to be in demand as a speaker in his role as chairman of the International Business and Education Co-operation Trust.

Calderdale, home of The Ridings School, has a new director of education. She is Carol White, a history specialist and currently senior assistant director of education at East Riding Council in Yorkshire. She will take up her new post in the spring term.

Ian Jennings, the previous director of education, agreed to take early retirement in September when ministers gave the council six weeks to improve or lose control of its education service. Inspectors had found that the council had failed to take action on five out of 10 recommendations for improving schools made the previous year. The acting director of education is Simon Jenkin,formerly CEO of Devon.

John Dewsbury, right, has been appointed director of the National Advisory Council for Education and Training Targets, the body set up by the Government in 1993 to provide independent advice on national targets. Mr Dewsbury, a career civil servant, replaces Philip Chorley, who is returning to the Department for Education and Employment.

The Drug Education Forum, based at the National Children's Bureau, has appointed a new co-ordinator, Joanne Butcher, to promote the forum's work in promoting good policy and practice in drug education. Ms Butcher has worked in drug education for some years, most recently as development officer for the Richmond Drug and Alcohol Action Team.

David Hellawell has been awarded the title of emeritus professor of education management at the University of Central England in Birmingham. Professor Hellawell, who has been associate dean of the university's faculty of education since 1992, has been a member of staff at UCE since 1973, when he was first appointed head of education at the then City of Birmingham College of Education.

Bournemouth University has appointed Roger Laughton as its new head of the School of Media Arts and Communication. Mr Laughton is executive director of broadcasting and entertainment at United News and Media, the UK's largest media group. He joined the BBC in 1965, rising to become head of daytime programmes (where he took the decision to buy Neighbours). He left in 1990 to head MAI Broadcasting, which formed part of the Meridian consortium of which he then became the first chiefexecutive.

Education Secretary David Blunkett has appointed Keith Bridge to chair the Education Transfer Council, which will be responsible for effecting any transfers of land necessary when a school changes category under the School Standards and Framework Act 1998. Mr Bridge, who is a chartered public finance accountant and past president of CIPFA, also chaired the council's predecessor body, the Education Assets Board.

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